This is the first “Find-Outer Mystery” in Enid Blyton’s series.
The Find-Outers are made up of Fatty (Real name, Fredrick Algernon Trotteville – his initials fit him a bit more than he would like!), Larry (Laurence Daykin), Daisy (Margaret Daykin), Pip (Philip Hilton) and the youngest, Bets (Elizabeth Hilton).
The Find-Outers are so named because when Larry explains that detectives “find out who did a crime”, Bets dubs them the Five Find-Outers.
This book, contrary to the title, is about a burnt workroom, but we can assume that once upon a time it was a cottage.
The crime happens in the first chapter which is unusual for an Enid Blyton book, because usually the first chapter is about “what boring hols we are having”.
There is an unexpected twist later on in the book, but unfortunately Blyton has broken the golden rule of whodunit mysteries – give the reader as much chance to solve the mystery as the characters – the clue that breaks the case open is only revealed very late on. By some slight plot alteration, I think Blyton could have made the book better.
That said, the Mystery of the Burnt Cottage is a very good book, and it definitely tells well of the books that are to follow.
If you would like to find out who did burn the cottage, you can